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Steak Tastes Funny and Watery

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Dear everyone,


I've been frustrated enough by this problem and hope to have your insight. I am a beginner in cooking and only do it at home, so I've read a few guides online about cooking steak. However, I can't see what's causing this problem.


Ever since I started to cook steak two years ago, it tastes funny and watery when I eat it. I think that the problem is with me, because this happens whenever and wherever I cook steak, whether I am in the UK or US. The problem doesn't seem to be the quality of the meat, because I always buy the premium or organic steaks at numerous top supermarkets (like Marks and Spencer or Whole Foods) The problem also doesn't seem to be the oven or grill, because I've cooked on a few different ones.


The problem is only with the taste. It's nothing like that of the steaks in any restaurant (or steakhouses), but I'm not expecting restaurant-quality results. I describe it as "funny" and "watery" since I don't know to what else to compare it or how else to express the taste.


I'll summarize what I do with the steak from the store to the oven. I usually get home 30-45 minutes after buying the steak at the store. Then:

(1) I take the steak out of the original packaging,

(2) I put it in a Rubbermaid container so I can pour some red wine onto the steak and add some salt and coarse pepper to it..

(3) After marinating the steak, I immediately place the container in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer)

(4) I usually plan on eating the steak after 6 hours or the next day. To do this, I take out the container out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and let it stand at room temperature.

(5) Once the oven/broiler or grill is heated and hot, I transfer the steak from the container to the broiler pan or grill.

(6) Then I grill for about 7 minutes.


After cooking, the steak looks like any other served by a good restaurant. Fortunately, I've always felt fine and normal after eating it. The taste is awful, though. Does anyone see the problem in my procedure? Thank you very much!

post #2 of 18

The wine marination isn't doing it any favors in my opinion.


They don't penetrate very deeply in the first place. Second, using only an acid for the marination will just break down the meat fibers in the outer layer, making them mushy. Third You've provided no balancing flavors to the wine marinade. Use the wine for a pan sauce at the end instead while the meat is resting.


I think you'd do better to just bring the steak to room temp before you cook it. Season it then, just before cooking. Let it rest 10 minutes when you're done cooking, then eat it.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 18

Here's a little reading if you're interested.

Look at "SOFA" and "OTHER TIPS".



post #4 of 18

On top of what phatch already mentioned, I see a huge problem with your #5 and #6:


You are basically throwing a wet steak on the grill. So your steak doesn't grill, it doesn't sear, it doesn't create a nice crust, it... steams and boils!! You want to do away with all moisture before you throw it on the grill. 


So even if you insist on marinating your steak (which is most likely not a good idea in the first place), make sure you take it out of the marinade and dry it as if your life depended on it: place it on a paper towel and press another paper towel on top. If the paper towels get soaked, throw them away and repeat - until there's no moisture left for the paper towels to absorb. 


THEN grill or pan sear your steak. 


You also mention "steak" but you're not saying which cut? You mention Whole Foods, and they tend to cut very THICK steaks for most cuts. If that's the case don't hesitate to take the steak out of the fridge, out of the marinade and dried a good hour before it goes on the grill. Ideally it should be room temperature at heart before cooking. 

post #5 of 18

First in restaurants we don;t marinate steak in particular in red wine. Second  Home you cannot possibly get the same results we do  You don;t have the equipment that can generate the consistant hi heat and BTU input that we have.. Third we try and cook the steak from room temp if possible not after 6 hours marinating in fridge.  You will never duplicate what the commercial food places put out.

post #6 of 18

People need to realize that with salt and pepper and proper cooking technique everything can taste great.  The rest is just extra.

post #7 of 18

Take non-marinated steak out of fridge 1/2 before cooking, dry it off and season it. For a pan sear I bring a pan with a little bit of oil to just before smoking and add the steak and turn the heat to medium. Leave it sit, don't poke it , move it or otherwise mess with it. Shake the pan every so often, when the steak slides flip it over. You will have a great crust this way. If the steak is thicker you may need to finish in a 450 oven.

post #8 of 18

Never cooked a steak inthe oven, so can't comment.

post #9 of 18

When trying to troubleshoot a problem, go back to basics. Get the same cut as the one that tasted funny/watery

last time. No marinade, try leaving it in original packaging this time. Then take it out, season, pan sear,

broil if necessary to desired doneness etc as Mary outlined above.  Retain the "searing liquid", including

all them lil brown bits (mmm) and while steak is finishing and resting, deglaze searing pan with Brandy or

stock etc, over medium heat. And sure if you want, toss in some of your red wine.  (This deglazing process

is otherwise known as "panning for gold"licklips.gif ) Let it reduce down a few minutes, concentrating all flavours

for an absolutely delicious pan sauce for your steak. A-1 doesn't begin to compare!

post #10 of 18

The best insight I can give you is based upon my own experiences which are the following:


Meat needs to be at room temperature or you'll never get good, or even consistent results. This is because the outer layer of the steak will cook way before the middle, as the middle is essentially still cold. Getting the meat up to room temperature will ensure a more even cooking.


Always sear a dry steak. Kitchen paper is your friend. Dry steak = browning (Millard reaction) / Wet steak = Boils until moisture is gone and then starts to brown, which creates shoe leather. Your marinade is hindering you, rather than helping here I'm afraid. If you still want to 'do something' with the steak, which many home-tinkerers like myself enjoy doing, might I suggest salting on one side and sticking it on a plate before putting in the fridge overnight. Then once you are bringing it back to room temperature, pat with kitchen paper to get rid of all the excess moisture. Another option is to dry age it on a wire rack on the top of your fridge for a couple of days before taking it out, pat with kithen paper and leave to get to room temperature before cooking.


Always, always, always leave a good cooked steak to rest for at least 5 minutes so that the muscle fibres in the meat have a chance to reabsorb the meats juices. Cutting into a non-rested steak means that you'll also experience that wetness when you cut into it. Heston Blumenthal did an experiment at one time where he left steaks rest at different times, and then stood on them. Suffice to say, the steaks that were not rested ended up a splushy mess.



Hope this helps.


Kind regards,



post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by ED BUCHANAN View Post

Never cooked a steak inthe oven, so can't comment.

I was cooking it in the oven, I was finishing. Thick steaks can't be pan cooked and many home owners don't have a decent broiler. My broiler is so-so, I can cook 2-3 teaks, any more than that and the ones to the outside edges don't get that nice crust without a lot of moving and swapping the steaks around.

post #12 of 18

Thick steaks can be pan cooked if done correctly. Never say Can't

post #13 of 18

I was going to say... I cook my thick (2") steaks in a pan on the stove top. Here's an example: 


post #14 of 18

Okay the average home cook isn't going to get it right on thicker steaks. I do it but I like my steak barely warm in the center.

post #15 of 18

Everyone's advice to avoid the marinade, let the steak come to room temp, dry, use S+P, and sear well is dead on. If you want to try something different you could use judicious amounts of other spices like chile powders, garlic powder, etc. Sometimes I like to use a little Guajillo or Ancho powder instead of black pepper. Save the wine for a reduction sauce.


If you're cooking a thick steak you can always pre-heat your oven to 250F and put the cooking pan in the oven for 5-10 minutes after you flip the steaks. That will slowly cook in towards the interior, the thicker the steak the lower your temp should be. Just poke the steak with your finger every couple minutes until it feels done. I usually cook sirloin steaks on the grill, but use the same method by moving the steaks off the fire and closing the lid on the grill.

post #16 of 18

Hmm, OP never came back in... maybe they switched to chicken. rolleyes.gif

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,


Many, many thanks to all your feedback and opinions. I can now report that my beef, literally, tastes better.


@Meezenplaz: No, I haven't. Don't worry!


Thank you all once again!

post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by scherz0 View Post

I can now report that my beef, literally, tastes better.

Well then you must be doing something right!! Congratulations. :)

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